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What Works for Health: Evidence for Decision-Making

What Works for Health provides communities with information to help select and implement evidence-informed policies, programs, and system changes that will improve the variety of factors that affect health. The research underlying this site is based on a model of population health that emphasizes the many factors that can make communities healthier places to live, learn, work, and play.

Policies and Programs

In What Works for Health, project analysts assess strategies that could improve health through changes to health behaviors, social and economic factors, clinical care, and the physical environment. For each strategy, we assign an evidence rating, describe expected outcomes, implementation in Wisconsin and elsewhere, and link to helpful resources. We also assess potential reach and likely impact on disparities for each strategy.

To find a strategy that could work in your community click on a health factor (blue boxes below), search by keyword (top, left column), or search by decision maker, evidence rating, potential population reach, or impact on disparities. If you are interested in learning about a strategy but don’t find it here, let us know.

Health Outcomes
Mortality (length of life)
Morbidity (quality of life)
    Health Behaviors     Tobacco Use
  Diet & Exercise
      Alcohol & Drug Use
  Sexual Activity
  Clinical Care     Access to Care
      Quality of Care
Health Factors
  Social & Economic Factors     Education
  Family & Social Support
  Community Safety
Policies and Programs
  Physical Environment     Air & Water Quality
      Housing & Transit

You can learn about many policies and programs that have been tested or implemented in rural areas, along with key steps toward building healthy communities - rural, urban, and in between – in this July 2015 report: What Works? Strategies to Improve Rural Health.